Delhi Government Releases 4,000 Tablighi Jamaat Members After Quarantine

Jamaat members named in Delhi Police's investigation into the "Markaz" Nizamuddin incident in March will not be released and instead be sent to police custody

Delhi Government Releases 4,000 Tablighi Jamaat Members After Quarantine

Coronavirus Delhi: Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat held a gathering in March in violation of lockdown rules

New Delhi:

Over 4,000 Tablighi Jamaat members who have completed mandatory quarantine and show no coronavirus symptoms can go home, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today.

However, the minister also said Delhi Police can take action on those Jamaat members who are named in Delhi Police's ongoing investigation into the "Markaz" Nizamuddin incident in March.

According to news agency PTI around 900 of those being released from quarantine are residents of Delhi. A majority of the others hail from Tamil Nadu and Telangana - two of the states worst-hit by the spread of COVID-19 cases linked to the Jamaat event.

The Delhi government is already in touch with resident commissioners and Nodal Officers of the concerned states to make transportation arrangements for their return, PTI has reported.

The Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic sect, held a religious gathering in south Delhi's Nizamuddin locality in March in defiance of social distancing protocols.

Thousands, including foreigners, gathered at the 100-year-old mosque complex, with hundreds also staying in a six-floor dormitory on the campus.

As Jamaat members dispersed to return to their homes across the country, over 15,000 coronavirus cases with links to the Delhi event were reported, leaving states scrambling to track down all other members of the group, some of whom were foreigners and arrested as they tried to leave the country.

Jamaat members have faced allegations that they are to blame for the spread of the novel coronavirus through the country. On Monday Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held them responsible and said action would be taken against them.

"In Uttar Pradesh and other places where the spread of the coronavirus has been seen, Tablighi Jamaat is behind it. Had they not hidden the disease and went about like its carriers, then perhaps we would have controlled the coronavirus outbreak to a large extent," he said.

Earlier this week eight Jamaat members were charged with attempt to murder as they did not declare themselves either before the state administration or the police, according to Ashok Kumar, Director General (Law and Order, Uttarakhand), who was quoted by news agency ANI.

More than 25,500 others - including local workers of the sect and people who came in contact with them - had been quarantined, as the site emerged as a coronavirus hotspot.

Jamaat leader Maulana Saad, against whom a money-laundering case has been filed by the Enforcement Directorate, has also been charged for organising a religious congregation in violation of the COVID-19 lockdown orders.

He was charged along with seven others on a complaint at the city's Nizamuddin Police Station for holding the congregation in alleged violation of the orders against large gatherings to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.